The Rooikat Wheeled Armoured Fighting Vehicle

Die Rooikat (The Red Cat)
Symbol of strength or scorned talent?

Blog 036 - 26 May 2013

The Rooikat Wheeled Armoured Fighting Vehicle

I do not particularly enjoy the short days of winter, nor the long nights that divide them. So I always take heart when I realize that there is less than a month to go to the winter solstice, after which our grip on the sun will gradually be restored. I do so despite knowing that winter has yet to affirm its grip on Southern Africa for a couple of months, before the days that are becoming longer, also become warmer again.

The onset of winter in Pietermaritzburg is of course tempered by some of the most beautiful weather that one can imagine. Days on end of temperate weather under a faultless blue sky. It is also the time when we get to be part of events that are in some respects unique to the city. So we visit the Royal Agricultural Show and Art in the Park and get to celebrate the endeavours of those participating in the Comrades Marathon.

This year I will visit the Royal Agricultural Show with a specific purpose. I will be going to take a look at the Rooikat. The Rooikat is a Wheeled Armoured Fighting Vehicle and it recently featured in an article that appeared in a Saturday's The Witness. At this point I should warn you that you are unlikely to find this article on-line. I certainly could not do so, and I subscribe to "The Witness".

In his article the writer claimed that the designers of the Rooikat still enjoy the respect of those that know their Ohms from their Amperes. Unfortunately he himself is confused by Watts and Amperes. That not withstanding, it seems that some of the excellent Research and Development that was undertaken within the military context, and manifested in projects like that of the Rooikat, could end up powering hybrid trucks on the N3, and perhaps even saving the world without a single shell being fired in anger.

Unfortunately that article unfortunately also left me feeling a little dejected. That would be because the New South Africa did not generally seem able to accommodate and utilize the talent that was had been responsible for these and other significant developments in South Africa prior to 1994. These talented people took their talents and continued to make contributions elsewhere. Sure, some would have left simply because they felt that the New South Africa was not going to be a place in which they wanted to live.

Others, knowing that they were going to be accommodated rather than side-lined, would have stayed. These individuals who had already benefitted hugely in the old South Africa, would of course have continued to benefit in the new South Africa. The difference now would be that their contribution would have also continued to drive the economy and grow jobs, something we badly need now. Instead we are now going to have to import the talent that we effectively side-lined earlier, and it will probably cost a lot more and also be less effective.

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